Lawmakers getting many calls from constituents on how to fix the oil spill

Some lawmakers are getting a lot of calls on various theories on how to plug the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

During an appearance Wednesday on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal,” a caller identifying himself as “Rod” told Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) that he had a solution to the oil catastrophe. 

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Johnson said “so many people” have been calling her office with proposals to solve the oil dilemma.

The Democrat added there have been “hundreds of thousands of suggestions,” tactfully noting that “all of them have to be checked out.”

Rod said he has called the White House, the Department of Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency, all to no avail. He also reached out to South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R), though it’s fair to say the embattled governor has been a bit distracted. Rod was then directed to an off-camera C-SPAN producer to reveal his master plan.

While it’s unlikely Rod has the answers to the nation’s worst environmental disaster in history, Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) said Wednesday his office is taking a constituent’s proposal very seriously.

Eric Pierce, who hails from Jones’s home county and has known the congressman for years, believes a crop grown in Africa that is being used in North Carolina could absorb the oil spill. Pierce told the Daily Reflector that the plant kenaf — which is used to absorb sludge in wastewater treatment plants — is like a “sponge on steroids.”

Jones said he has gotten less serious calls on fixing the catastrophe, but is evaluating Pierce’s plan and may send it to the appropriate authorities.

Many senators reported getting calls from constituents who simply expressed anger and frustration.

“We’re definitely getting calls, but I’d have to check if there’s any ideas coming out of them,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).

But other senators say they’re getting pitched some ideas.

“Oh, yeah,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). “People have lots of different ideas. One guy came to a town hall meeting, said he was a petroleum engineer and he had an idea. It had something to do with hydraulics that I didn’t understand, but I said, ‘Get it to us on paper, and we’ll send it on right away to [Coast Guard] Adm. [Thad] Allen and his people.’ ”